Category Archives: teenage girls

I am a New Adult (Again)

When I was 18 years old, I could not wait to leave my boring, suburban hometown and go to college in the city of Boston. And even though Boston was only a 40-minute drive away, I was convinced that moving to the city had the power to magically transform me—80’s movie montage-style—from a chubby, overachieving nerd, into the glamorous, urbane sophisticate I was no doubt destined to become.

I began my metamorphosis by drowning my former Student of the Month persona in gallons of cheap vodka, while my inner good-girl was smothered in a wardrobe of all black.

The strange thing was, I had this one professor who somehow managed to see through my shroud of pretension and catch a glimpse of the real me.  Over the next four years, she frequently sought me out, encouraging me to get more involved with the university and become a student leader. I spent four years dodging her requests.

And yet, I found myself oddly tempted by the idea of revisiting my inner go-getter. Because somewhere hidden deep inside of me—though, evidently, not quite as deep or hidden as I thought—was a motivated, hard-working kid who didn’t really want to waste her entire life stumbling home from nightclubs at 3:00am. I was enthralled with the idea of a life of reckless hedonism, yet I could no longer ignore the ambition roiling inside of me, the desire to live out my life-long dreams, or at the very least, to get sh*t done.

Shortly after graduation, I began to reconcile these two disparate halves of myself, retaining just enough of my free-spirited proclivities to make life enjoyable, while making sure to carve out enough time to honor my inner over-achiever. I was only 23 when I started to shoot my debut feature film and my former professor was the first one to pull out her checkbook.

HWG1stFILM

I spent the rest of my 20’s pining for and simultaneously reenacting my college days. It was the 90’s, and my generation pioneered the concept of prolonged adolescence, formerly known as “slacking,” which, in turn, spawned the rise of the pervasive Man Child[1] phenomenon of today. Sure, I worked for a living and (mostly) paid my own bills. But none of my friends actually had it quote-unquote together, and as we drank our nights away at the local pool hall, we laughed over the  fact that anyone in our youthful, fun-loving age bracket actually gave a crap about bourgeois, old-people things like 401Ks, biological clocks, and marriage.

Then thirty came, hitting us like the slap of a screen door in the three-decker Allston apartment we were too old to still be renting. We certainly weren’t kids anymore. We were freaking thirty.  So where were our amazing careers? Where were the new cars and engagement rings? In a phrase: What the hell was wrong with us?

For me, turning 30 was the beginning of my adulthood, though true adulthood didn’t come until I became a parent, at age 34. Looking back, I don’t regret my extended stay in Never-Neverland, and judging from my resume (two features under my belt by age 28 and various TV-producing jobs) I can’t exactly call myself a slacker. But I do wonder what I might have achieved if I’d followed the path suggested to me by my old professor and given in to my ambitious side way back when I was still in college. I also wonder what I would have lost by giving up those extra ten years of my youth.

I spent my twenties fighting adulthood with everything I had and my thirties learning to accept it. At 43, I fully embrace my adult self, though there really isn’t another choice. Which is why I believe it’s entirely possible that New Adulthood is more than just some marketing scam cooked up by YA publishers.  I am a New Adult now, for the fourth or fifth time over. Maybe all of us always are.


[1] For more info. on the Man-Child, watch an early Judd Apatow film.

Hilary Weisman Graham is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, and the author of the YA novel Reunited (Simon & Schuster), now available in paperback. http://www.amazon.com/Reunited-Hilary-Weisman-Graham/dp/144243984X/ref%3dsr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321630047&sr=8-1

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, new adult, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, teenage girls, writing, young adult

Curl Power

Are you old enough to remember when Nicole Kidman’s hair was actually curly? How about when Kerri Russell rocked a curly do?  And whatever happened to Andie MacDowell’s famous curls?  Or Juliana Margulies?  These ladies used to be my curly hair icons. And now… just a bunch of limp noodles.  Albeit, gorgeous ones.

Normally, I’m not one to out people.  And if I had the kind of money these women spend on hair stylists and fancy Japanese thermal relaxers, I’m sure I would have dabbled with straight hair, too.  Like most curly-haired women, I spent the majority of my life in a love-hate relationship with my curls. And though I’ve been tempted to join the hair majority, my hair’s way too kinky to be straightened by a mere blow-out, flat iron, or keratin treatment.  Even the highly toxic African-American hair relaxers I used back in college never made my hair anything other than wavy at best.

So, I understand how annoying it is to not be able to try out the latest hairstyles.  I’m in my 40’s now, and I still feel phantom pangs of jealousy over my inability to pull off feathered bangs in seventh grade.

But because I had no other choice, I ultimately learned to love and accept my crazy corkscrew hair for what it is.  Which is kind of what life’s all about, right?

So today, I call on all the celebrity frizz-heads of America and make this plea:  let your curls out of the closet and wear them with pride.  Seriously, ladies—do you want the only role model for a whole generation of curly-haired girls to be Kenny G.?

Is, Kenny G. our only hope?

Is Kenny G. our only hope?

Curl Power.  We’re here, we hate humidity.  Get used to it.

4 culry-haired young adult authors (L to R: Gina Damico, Zoraida Cordova, Hilary Weisman Graham, Sarah Beth Durst)

4 culry-haired young adult authors walk into a bookstore… (L to R: Gina Damico, Zoraida Cordova, Hilary Weisman Graham, Sarah Beth Durst)

Maude Apatow, potential Curl Power spokesmodel.

Maude Apatow: potential Curl Power spokesmodel?

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Happy Birthday to ESCAPE THEORY, TRINKETS, and Me!

There are few moments more gratifying for an author than the day his or her book gets released.  So, I would like to extend a hearty congrats to my uber-talented writer friends Kirsten Smith (Trinkets) and Margaux Froley (Escape Theory) who saw their book babies into the world today.  YA fans,  I urge you to go buy both of these great book right now.  Seriously.  What are you waiting for?  And since March 12th also happens to be my birthday, I guess that makes us triplets.  If a 40-something human could be biologically related to hardcover books.

BOTH of these great books made Publisher Weekly’s Best New Books of the Week!  Synopsis (lifted from Goodreads) are below.

TRINKETS by Kirsten Smith

Sixteen-year-old Moe’s Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world’s unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her…and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has “klepto” written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation.

Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe: a beauty queen, a wallflower, and a burnout-a more unlikely trio high school has rarely seen. And yet, when Tabitha challenges them to a steal-off, so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.

ESCAPE THEORY by Margaux Froley

Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide.

Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her.  As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn’t have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentialityand tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch’s death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.

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Nothing Compares 2 U

TeamTeen(1)

Today’s theme for the TeamTEENAuthor group post is Break-Ups.  But since it’s been a loooong time since I’ve had one of those (1997, to be exact) I’ve decided to write about friendship break-ups, which is a huge part of my book, REUNITED.

Though if you’ve recently had your heart broken, go put on a pair of comfy PJs, open up the Ben and Jerry’s, and see my recommendations for the best break-up albums and movies at the end of this article.

Divorcing Our Friends: When Friendships Fall Apart

I got dumped freshman year of high school. Not by my boyfriend, because, sadly, I didn’t have one, but by Shannon*, the girl who had been my best friend since age ten. Shannon and I had spent the past five years practically living at each other’s houses. We went of our first double date together, attended the same summer camps. In fifth grade we wore matching Van Halen baseball shirts to school once a week.

Then high school came and something shifted. For reasons I couldn’t explain, Shannon started spending more time with Chrissy* and Megan*, two pony-tailed blondes from our soccer team. Each weekend, the three of them would go off to cool upperclassmen parties, while I sat at home, pining for the carefree days of sleepovers, riding bikes, and making prank phone calls. Sure, I wouldn’t have been opposed to tagging along for a keg party or two, or making out with any number of cute boys from the varsity soccer team. The problem was, Shannon never asked me along.

Then one winter night, a few months into the school year, I was trying to coordinate plans for Shannon and I to attend a hockey game, when she simply stopped answering my calls. After ten or twenty desperate attempts to get her to click over to the other line, she finally picked up, only to tell me that she’d already made plans to go to the game. With Chrissy.

“Fine,” I told her, not getting the message, “I’ll meet you guys there.”

“No,” Shannon said, her voice oddly distant. “Chrissy and I don’t want you to come.”

So, it was very healing, twenty-five years later, when I managed to land my first book deal because of that painful experience. Reunited, my debut young adult novel, tells the story of three ex-best friends who take a road trip from Boston to Austin to attend the one-night-only reunion show of the band they all once loved. And though I’ve never had the pleasure of driving cross-country with my ex-best friends, thanks to Shannon, I was able to connect with the complicated feelings of a friendship gone south.

But whether or not we’ve gone through a traumatic split like mine, we’ve all had the experience of losing a friend. Usually, we don’t mean for it happen. But over time things change—we move, we get involved in romantic relationships, we spend more time on our careers, our marriages, and our kids.

Sometimes, friendships crumble simply because our lifestyles have become too different. It seems like everyone has at least one friend who never quite managed to grow up. Back in college; you two partied like it was 1999. Hell, it was 1999. But a decade later, you’re busy attending school plays and shopping for lawnmowers, while your old pal is still out hitting the bars five nights a week.

Then there are friendships that break up due to some act of transgression, jealousy, or deceit. Angry words are exchanged Real Housewives-style, eventually culminating in a dramatic, and usually permanent, parting of ways. I don’t think this phenomenon is all that common, at least among the rational, self-aware women I know, though it seems to be one of the few kinds of female “friendship” portrayed on reality TV.

So, what’s the real culprit? Why do some friendships fall apart while others stay together?

I think it all centers around our ability to be open—not just to intimacy, which of course, is a big part of any meaningful relationship, but also to having people in our lives who may not be exactly like us. The older we get, the more we figure out who we are, which is mostly a wonderful thing, but can also be limiting, if we’re not careful. Understandably, I prefer to spend my time with people who share my values, interests, and my undying, irrational love for Pa Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. But over the years, I’ve learned that connecting with people is about more than just that. It’s about building a special world together that only you share, a secret clubhouse of sorts, only without the “No Boys Allowed” sign tacked to the door. Though it’s strongly implied.

Personally, I am lucky enough to have remained close with a big group of old friends who date back to my childhood. Some of us still have a lot in common. Others, it’s doubtful we’d strike up a friendship had we met today. But even though our lives may be quite different, there’s something quite great about sharing a history with someone, a comfort, and even a vulnerability, in knowing that this friend understands the person you used to be—and still are, at your core.

I am also blessed to have lots of “new” friends who I share a lot in common with and who live close by. For the past three years, this group of women and I have spent every Tuesday night together, barring a snowstorm or a kid with a high fever. Together, we put a lot of energy into nurturing our friendship, making sure to prioritize it in our hectic daily lives, because keeping a friendship alive takes work, just like a marriage does.

Unfortunately, the busy twenty-first century world we live in is too often a killer of friendships. We’re always juggling a million things at once, so friends are squeezed in like an afterthought, in between romantic partners, kids, and work. It doesn’t help that with the advent of Facebook, the very definition of word “friend” has been trivialized to include “that kid you once sat next to in Calculus class.”

Sure, our friendships as women might take some effort to maintain. And they’ll never have the same intensity they did when we were girls, back when our best friends were our everything. But the laughter, wisdom, and emotional support my friends and I give each other gives back to each of us in profound and significant ways. Because of my Tuesday nights out, I’m a better wife, a better mother, and a happier me. And if I ever have an overwhelming desire to discuss Pa Ingall’s sex appeal, I know I’m not alone.

*Names have been changed for privacy.

—————————————————–

And now, a little something for the lovelorn…

Hilary’s List of “Best Break-Up Movies”

Weirdly, Zooey Deschanel’s in two of them.

  • 500 DAYS OF SUMMER
  • CELESTE & JESSIE FOREVER
  • ALL THE REAL GIRLS
  • ANNIE HALL
  • HIGH FIDELITY

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Hilary’s List of “Best Break-Up Albums”

Not weirdly,  two of them are by Joni Mitchell.

  • JONI MITCHELL – BLUE
  • JONI MITCHELL – COURT & SPARK
  • NICK CAVE – THE BOATMAN’S CALL
  • THE CURE – DISINTEGRATION
  • RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON – SHOOT THE LIGHTS OUT
  • ALANIS MORRISSETTE – JAGGED LITTLE PILL

220px-Courtandspark Bluealbumcover

Oh, and the all-time best break-up song ever… Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”

For more teamTEENauthor posts about break-ups, check out these:

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Toilet Papering the Yard – from the pranksters at The YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes

Welcome to “Toilet papering the Yard,” which, in addition to being an obnoxious yet biodegradable Halloween prank, is also the name of my group in  the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes.  If you’ve never hopped with us before, the YAmazing Race is the coolest blog hop ever featuring over 50 YA & MG authors and tons of excellent prizes including: books, gift certificates, swag, and a personalized make-over from Honey Boo Boo. 

Okay, I made up that last one. ;)

If you haven’t yet been to the Apocalypsies website, CLICK HERE to start from the beginning and read the complete rules.  Now, off to the races! (Official start time is Monday, 10/22 at noon EST.)

REUNITED  Synopsis

1 Concert.    2,000 Miles.     3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.  Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.  But when the band broke up, so did their friendship.  Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.  Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse.  And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town.  But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Now tuck that away in your clever, little brain for the quiz at the end.

But before you go – here’s a bonus contest! Do any of the following and you’ll be entered to win a signed hardcover copy REUNITED!

And if you do all five you’ll be entered five times!

Ready to keep racing?  Then check  out the website for INNOCENT DARKNESS author & steampunk goddess Suzanne Lazear to move on to the next stop.  Good luck!

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Win Tons of Books & Stuff at TeamTEEN Author’s Dare Day Challenge

Guess what, teamTEEN author fans?  It’s Dare Day again!  I know I said that last week, but apparently I jumped the gun a bit.  Whoops.  But the good news is, this week, you can enter to win books & stuff!

To check out all of the fabulous PRIZES, just go to the TeamTEEN Author Dare Day Contest, read the rules, enter the contest, & you may just get lucky.

Dares for this week were concocted by the evil, young minds over at The Perfect 10.  Our choices were:

1) Covering your face with peanut butter & takign a picture (yum!)

2) Writing about your most embarrassing teen moment Shakespearean sonnet-style

3)  Revealing your biggest teen crush, complete with photos (see below)

And if you like seeing authors make fools of themselves, check out these Dare Day posts from other TeamTEEN Authors.

Julie Cross

Janci Patterson

Laura Ellen

Elizabeth Amisu

Eugene Meyers

Kim Sabatini

And now, I present to you, my biggest teen celebrity crush.

My Celebrity Crush Likes Richard Nixon!

I guess I’m a bit of a pragmatist when it comes to love.  Sure, I had my share of teen crushes, but always on boys I actually knew, boys who were, at least theoretically, within my grasp.  Unlike my pre-teen friends, I never understood the thrill in pressing my lips to the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine.  Probably because I had the good sense to realize that there was no way in hell Leif Garret or Shaun Cassidy would choose a nine-year-old as their girlfriend.  And except for one naughty dream about Van Halen front-man David Lee Roth (which I blame entirely on my subconscious) the boys of my fantasies were always just regular ol’ dudes.

And then I saw Michael J. Fox.

For the record, I also had a girl-crush on Justine Bateman.

Never mind that he was 5’2” and, in all likelihood, weighed less than me. Or that his character on FAMILY TIES was a rabid Republican.

Why, Alex, why???

Then BACK TO THE FUTURE came out, and my infatuation swelled to proportions not even a flux capacitor could measure.

Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

By the time I went to Japan for the summer as an exchange student, I’d created a well-worn collection of romantic MJF fantasies to keep me company whenever I felt lonely. Which was a lot.  These often played to the soundtrack of Paul Simon’s Graceland—one of the few cassette tapes I’d brought with me on my trip.

Thinking about that time in my life brings up fond memories. And as a tribute to my former crush, I’m going to go donate to his charity for Parkinson’s Disease right now.

https://www.michaeljfox.org

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Dare Day: In Which I Reveal My Biggest Celebrity Crush

Guess what, teamTEEN author fans?  it’s Dare Day again!  Oh yes, I already completed my qualifying dare last March (see below).

But I’ve never been one to turn down a chance to humiliate myself on the interwebs.  And so, I present to you, my biggest celebrity crush.

My Celebrity Crush Likes Richard Nixon!

I guess I’m a bit of a pragmatist when it comes to love.  Sure, I had my share of teen crushes, but always on boys I actually knew, boys who were, at least theoretically, within my grasp.  Unlike my pre-teen friends, I never understood the thrill in pressing my lips to the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine.  Probably because I had the good sense to realize that there was no way in hell Leif Garret or Shaun Cassidy would choose a nine-year-old as their girlfriend.  And except for one naughty dream about Van Halen front-man David Lee Roth (which I blame entirely on my subconscious) the boys of my fantasies were always just regular ol’ dudes.

And then I saw Michael J. Fox.

For the record, I also had a girl-crush on Justine Bateman.

Never mind that he was 5’2” and, in all likelihood, weighed less than me. Or that his character on FAMILY TIES was a rabid Republican.

Why, Alex, why???

Then BACK TO THE FUTURE came out, and my infatuation swelled to proportions not even a flux capacitor could measure.

Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

By the time I went to Japan for the summer as an exchange student, I’d created a well-worn collection of romantic MJF fantasies to keep me company whenever I felt lonely. Which was a lot.  These often played to the soundtrack of Paul Simon’s Graceland—one of the few cassette tapes I’d brought with me on my trip.

Thinking about that time in my life brings up fond memories. And as a tribute to my former crush, I’m going to go donate to his charity for Parkinson’s Disease right now.

https://www.michaeljfox.org

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